Back to Issue Thirty-Eight

Watch Dog



Today’s spent echoing the beagle
as I keep watch from the window,
assessing each speck of land of this
place called home or territory or
memory, each plot of maple, juniper,
japanese plum, the latest implant that
never took and the wisest, sickest trunk
of them all. When she’s inside, she
tries to dig. When she’s outside,
she digs and digs and digs and I want to
hold her close, to know what it is
she searches for so ravenously.
She gets a blow dry after showers,
the pasta sauce beef, a nice long
leash of freedom, and she’s getting
older, too. Who says she can’t have
it all? Who says she can’t have the one
glorious litter with not a single heartworm,
stillborn, Volvo hit, or worse, the neighbor
kid claiming the runt as his own, as if she
hadn’t already carried and licked the babe?
Myself, I’ve always been short on
the wanting, once in junior high at the
round barn dance next to a boy I can’t
quite remember, now in the rested
hankerings of making up and out and
again when I tell Bingo: Turn away.
She’s yowling at the cicada killer
as it body slams its hard-won corpse,
over and over towards the tinted glass,
the wings of the prey still folded, inert,
so absent of the clumsy quiver, the signature
move to announce to the world: I’m hungry,
I’m fighting, I’m in it to win.


Patricia Liu is a senior at Harvard College, studying English and East Asian Studies. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in POETRY, The Cincinnati Review, and The Colorado Review. She is from Oklahoma.

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